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Summer Stories: Poetry Slams and Publishing Tales

Hi everyone - what a strange season this has been! I hope that you and yours have been able to stay safe during these challenging times, and I'm sending all my love to you as we face the world's next chapter. Life in lockdown has brought changes for us all, and I thought I'd share some of the things I've been working on here, especially new poems and paintings that I hope will help raise a rainbow smile.

I had a lovely surprise when one of my all-time favourite poems, 'Weeding', was selected as Runner-Up in the Glasgow Women's Library digital 'Calm Slam. Here's my video entry, filmed from the relative comfort of my garden in lockdown.

This project inspired me to film more of my work to share on my YouTube channel, so please be sure to check out the rest of the videos at the bottom of this page! Another exciting moment was when 'Things I've Been Told To Be (In No Particular Order)' was published by BlueHouse Journal. This piece was an excitingly experimental one for me and I'm beyond thrilled that it has found a good home with a dynamic journal like BlueHouse - based in Glasgow, no less!

And finally, I'm delighted to announce that one of my short stories, 'Miss Mew', will be published in the upcoming edition of New Voices Press, the chief imprint of the Federation of Writers (Scotland). In the spirit of 'MMM' - remember that one? - this piece aims to call attention to an underrated but incredibly talented woman in history: Charlotte Mew, an inventive and imaginative poet who was praised by contemporaries including Thomas Hardy but struggled with family secrets and her own mental health throughout her life. I feel like my creative work is doing its job when I can give a voice to those who too-often go unheard, and I can't wait to share this publication with you in Autumn 2020.

With 'Ellen and Arbor' also getting closer to publication every week - more info on that to come very soon! - I haven't had as much time as usual to experiment with new painting subjects (except for one very special project that shall be revealed shortly)! Nevertheless, I love nothing more than to refine my favourite themes of trees, flowers and animal illustrations, and I hope you like the latest lockdown-inspired additions to my gallery and Etsy shop.

Until we meet again, please take care, stay safe and cherish the summer come rain or shine! kxo

Ps. A week after publishing this blog, I was beyond thrilled to learn that another of my short stories, The Wordsworth Women, has won second prize in the Federation of Writers Scotland 'Vernal Equinox' Competition! This one is very close to my heart, giving a glimpse into the life of Dorothy Wordsworth and several other women who made possible her famous brother William's achievements. It'll be published in the FWS anthology later this year - in the meantime, why not revisit my 'Walking in the Wordsworths' Footsteps' blog from 2019? I'm also delighted to announce that three of my poems - 'Mary MacLeod's Migration', 'Hen' and 'Frozen Birdbath' (a new one and personal favourite!) - will be published in DREICH 5 Season 2 next year. 'The Coastal Shelf' will appear soon in a DREICH Chapbook on the theme 'Afters', featuring poems inspired by reading the work of other poets, and I can't wait to share more publications like this with you in the future. I'm filming a video reading of 'Mary McLeod' as we speak, and 'Frozen Birdbath' will follow as soon as there is some suitably frosty weather, but in the meantime you'll find 'Hen' and several other snippets to watch below this post! :-)

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